Rationale: Medical assistants are typically the first contact with a patient. After the introduction, it is customary to take a patient history. In addition to that history, vital signs are taken to give a more complete look at the patient’s current condition. It is important to take your time to get accurate results, and to practice these techniques often to ensure that your skills never wane. Vital signs are typically broken up into 4 standard categories. These categories are heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature. When a patient is assessed by the healthcare worker, the vital signs are a critical communication to the physician as to the status of the patient. The vital signs, in connection with the patient history, give the healthcare staff a starting point in developing a plan of care for the patient.
Ophthalmic Medical Assistant
Rationale: Medical assistants can receive additional training to specialize in care designed specifically for ophthalmological care. Physicians that specialize in working with the eye are called ophthalmologists. Their offices require medical assistants that are familiar with exams that involve treatment of specifically the eye. These MA’s still perform their administrative and clinical duties. However, they must also learn how to measure visual acuity and give eye exams, administer eye drops before procedures, be proficient in removing and placing contact lenses in the patient’s eyes, and be comfortable assisting the physician with different eye surgeries such as laser eye corrective procedures.
Rationale: Medical assistants are a pivotal part of healthcare in this country. As with all medical modalities, medical assistants have a national organization that guides the profession. The American Association of Medical Assistants, or AAMA, was established in 1955 by a small group of medical assistants in Kansas City, Kansas. Ever since its introduction, the AAMA has acted upon a primary function of furthering the strength of the profession by offering education opportunities, connections within the profession, information about the scope of the profession, certification assistance, and a modern outlook on patient care advocacy.
Rationale: Medical assistants have the option to augment their marketability with many specializations. For many medical facilities the preference is diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic imaging involves many different types of exams that give a physician the ability to see pictures of the inner-workings of a patient’s body to make diagnostic determinations to aid in the diagnosis of disease and malady. Most imaging modalities require specific certifications or degrees to perform. However, there are 21 states in the United States that do not currently have restriction on taking diagnostic x-rays. Many urgent cares require x-rays so that they can treat broken limbs or respiratory infections. In the event that the medical assistant lives in a state with restrictions, a class can be taken to become a GXMO. General x-ray machine operators are educated to take standard x-rays for all parts of the body, with a strong understanding of the risks and benefits of radiation.
Rationale: A variety of different conditions will be encountered when interacting with patients. Not all patient conditions will be easy to remedy. Depending on the patient history, and the patient’s current condition, there could be a number of different diagnoses that could pertain to the patient’s complaints. Because of this, there needs to be a way to move beyond the examination, assessment, and the patient history. This is where the lab procedures come into the equation. The medical assistant is required to take a number of different types of samples from the patient to assist the physician in formulating an accurate diagnosis. These lab procedures can include everything from venipuncture and blood work, to urinalysis, even throat cultures. The medical assistant must learn to be proficient in all areas of the lab procedures to ensure that they can procure viable samples for optimum lab results.
Rationale: The medical assistant profession is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. Between 2008 and 2018, the medical assistant job market is expected to grow about 34%. The healthcare industry is an industry of job security. With modern medicinal and technological advances every year, the population is living longer. However, the human body is not a permanent machine. It is always in a state of disrepair. Many diseases and maladies strike people every day. Unfortunately, there is also a large demographic of the American population that is currently struggling with obesity, diabetes, and other conditions. With people needing some form of medical involvement every day, medical assistants are a critical part of the healthcare system. Currently, there are about 500,000 medical assistants working in the United States. Those medical assistants are helping people in physician’s offices, hospitals, and specialized facilities all over the country.
Rationale: Healthcare is a business just like any others, and a happy client is the best form of advertisement for any company. To keep your medical facility thriving to serve the population, it is in the best interest of every healthcare worker to be as consistent, professional, and considerate as they can be. At the end of the day, you have a job to perform, and without a place to work there is no job. So, patient satisfaction is the most important aspect of the medical assistant’s profession. The MA should always stay current on their profession’s techniques and perform those with confidence. If you work at a PCP office, develop relationships with the patients, have conversations with them. Take every opportunity to educate the patient about the examinations being performed during their stay. The more information they have the better sense of self advocacy they take away with them. It doesn’t all have to be about business, because you’re securing your job by treating the customer well.
Rationale: The medical assistant (also known as M.A.) profession is one that requires a flexible range of skills. An expectation of the position is that you become comfortable with administrative responsibilities. Administrative duties typically involve tasks in the front of the office. This could mean greeting patients, filing medical documents, handling patient billing, interacting with insurance paperwork, answering phone calls, and calling in prescriptions to pharmacies. Generally smaller practices have a limited staff, so it is very common for the medical assistant to multi-task a great many projects at any one time. When working the front office, you are the sometimes the first interaction a patient will have when visiting that medical facility. It pays to be kind and understanding, because this interaction can set the tone for the rest of the patient’s visit.
Rationale: The medical assistant (also known as M.A.) profession is one that requires a flexible range of skills. An expectation of the position is that you become comfortable with clinical responsibilities. These duties are areas of expertise that will involve patient contact. The medical assistant will escort patients to their exam room. The MA will ask the patient questions about their current condition and any medical history pertaining to their current situation. To complete a patient’s chart, the medical assistant will record the patient’s current vital signs for the physician to review. These vital signs should include heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature. The MA then gives the chart to the physician, briefly explaining the patient’s condition. Once the physician performs a patient assessment, the physician may require the MA to perform a number of lab procedures including urinalysis, venipuncture, electrocardiography, and obtaining cultures.
Rationale: All medical facilities strive to make theirs the cleanest possible to provide the patient with an environment free from infection. This process is known as infection control. After every patient exits an exam room, a process should be in place to sanitize the surfaces the patient came in contact with, table coverings should be discarded, and all medical tools that were used must either be discarded or placed into the proper cleansing devices. Medical tools become sanitized using everything from extreme heat to chemicals. But, the easiest way for medical professionals to protect the patients is by washing their hands. A habit must be built to wash our hands thoroughly after every contact to ensure we do not carry those to the next patient. Without these protocols set in place, patients could acquire illnesses just by visiting physician’s offices and medical facilities. This is known as a nosocomial infection. These affect over two million patients a year.